July 26

The Holy Spirit

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. EPHESIANS 5:18, NIV

When I was a little boy growing up, I remember people in our church referring to the Holy Spirit as the "Holy Ghost." For a long time I had this image in my mind of the Holy Ghost being something like Casper the Friendly Ghost, floating through walls like a puff of smoke.

I was also wrong about something else: I used to refer to the Holy Ghost as an "it"—as if He were some kind of impersonal machine or space alien. But the Holy Ghost that Jesus talked about is a living, active, personal being, sent to glorify Christ as well as to be our Counselor, Advisor, Advocate, Defender, Director, Encourager and Guide.

If you are interested in living life the way Jesus promised—and if you want a marriage where the two of you are growing spiritually—then a good understanding of the Holy Spirit is vital. Being "filled with the Spirit" is not just a suggestion but a clear command of Scripture. What Paul wrote to the Ephesians in the above verse means being controlled by Him in much the same way that alcohol controls a person's mind and actions.

When we're angry with each other about something, for instance, being filled with the Spirit enables us to control our tempers and impatience. He keeps us from saying things we'll later regret. He battles the selfishness within us, bringing our hearts under His authority and bending our wills to God's.

We don't always let Him win, of course. We still fail Him far too often. But every time we submit ourselves to His control, He grows in us the character traits that please Him and bless our spouses. "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).

DISCUSS

What have you learned about the Holy Spirit? How much of your understanding of Him has been inaccurate over the years?

PRAY

Pray for hearts that are constantly cleaned and confessed, leaving ample room for the Spirit to dwell in. 

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